Dealing With the Death of a Mother

Losing the person who gave you life changes everything. No one is ever prepared to let go of the person who held your hand, rocked you to sleep, and loved you unconditionally. The grief comes in surges. One minute you may feel overwhelmed by the pain that grips your body and breaks your heart. The next minute, you may chuckle when you remember the time she threatened to beat up the kid at the bus stop when he pushed you down and broke your glasses.

The love between a mother and her child is like no other relationship. No matter where life leads you, thoughts of your mom always take you home. So what do you do now? She is gone, and she’s not coming back. How will you cope and what will you do with the empty space where she used to be?

No, It’s Not All For the Best

If your mother was elderly, had cancer, or another terminal illness, you may have convinced yourself you could handle the inevitable. The despondency and sorrow you feel when she finally lets go of life is overpowering. People will say things that will infuriate you, like “It’s all for the best, at least she’s not suffering now.” They may think you should bounce back quickly, or be relieved because you no longer have the responsibility of caregiving. Survivors have difficulty embracing those concepts, even if they are partially true.

Finding the right words to say to a person who has suffered a loss is difficult for most people. Try to dismiss their awkward comments, and know that your feelings of unbearable grief are normal. Saying the final goodbye to your mother is one of the most difficult things you will ever have to do. Be kind to yourself. Take the time you need to come to grips with your loss, and to return to the normal pace of life.

I Wish I Had Known I Would Never See Her Again

If your mother’s death was sudden and unexpected, the challenge of accepting her death will be even harder for you. There may have been an unresolved conflict, or something you meant to tell her. Try not to let guilt consume you because of words left unsaid. Console yourself with the memory of positive times and things that you did say. If you feel helpless and unable to deal with your feelings, you may want to contact a grief therapist for guidance.

Cherish her Memory

Let your friends and family know they can talk about your loss. Ask them to share memories and stories you may not have heard. Dig out the old photographs and remember the joy you shared with the beautiful person she was. Most of all, recapture your life in your own time, on your own terms. You will never get over the loss of your mother, but peace will come.

Dealing With the Death of a Mother: ""
Cite this page: Nugent, Pam M.S., "Dealing With the Death of a Mother," in PsychologyDictionary.org, January 25, 2016, https://psychologydictionary.org/article/dealing-with-the-death-of-a-mother/ (accessed May 26, 2018).
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